His beloved Cowboys might have gotten crushed Sunday but Ryan Palmer did give his fellow Texans at least some reason to smile later in the day. The 33 year-old Amarillo native won the Sony Open in Hawaii today, capping it off with a less than attractive eagle chip that almost left a dent in the flagstick. The ensuing birdie got him to 15 under par and left his closest rival, Robert Allenby, in need of his own birdie to force a playoff.
Palmer took more than a few extra practice strokes before executing the chip shot. With the grain running hard against him he knew the possibility of a fat shot or a skulled one loomed large. He was right but fortunately his line was dead on and the ball struck the flag solidly, leaving it just inches from the hole. "A lucky bounce," exclaimed the champ just after leaving the 18th green. "It was probably going to go by 7 or 8 feet."
Allenby, left to make a tying putt, failed in the execution of the tying putt and watched another PGA Tour title slip away. It was his 7th runner-up finish on the PGA Tour where he last hoisted a trophy in 2001.
It was the third career win for Palmer who also took top spot at the 2004 FUNAI Classic at Disney and the 2008 Ginn sur Mer Classic.
Asked to compare today's win with those Palmer pointed to his mental state as the key to his 2010 success.
"It's hard to compare. Obviously, the two wins that I had, one when I came back and shot a 62. And of course again, I was one back going in the final round next to the last group. That was the battle when you got 7 guys tied for the lead with five holes to go. Neither one of them could compare with what I went through today, just emotionally, just how I kept myself in check, and calm, and relaxed. I'm amazed at how calm I was.
I came out today the same motto, the same idea that I had all week, just kept loose.
And playing Robert, we had a good time again, we talked a lot today, which kept me loose too. It was a great battle. Robert deserved just as much as I did to win, but fortunately I am the one that came out on top."
With the win Palmer earned 500 FedEx Cup Points and is now the co-leader in that race with SBS Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy. He is also now exempt through the 2010 PGA Tour season and earns an automatic invite to The Masters.
Next week he will try to win two in a row as the Tour heads to the California desert for the Bob Hope Classic. He tees off on the 10th hole Wednesday at the SilverRock Resort Course.
Pat Perez is the defending champion.
Ryan Palmer has used the same Odyssey Rossie II putter for several years including for his 2008 win. It is fitted with a UST Mamiya Frequency Filtered shaft.
You can learn more about Ryan at his Facebook page. Prior to the win today he had just 750 fans on that page. He will likely gain a few more in the days ahead.